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Archive for November 30th, 2010

 

by Allan Fish

(Japan 1951 97m) DVD2

Aka. Meshi

All over a nosebleed

p  Sanezumi Fujimoto  d  Mikio Naruse  w  Toshiro Ide, Sumie Tanaka, Yasunari Kawabata  novel  Fumiko Hayashi  ph  Masao Tamai  ed  Mikio Naruse  m  Fumio Hayasaka 

Ken Uehara (Hatsunosuke Okamoto), Setsuko Hara (Michiyo Okamoto), Yukiko Shimazuki (Satoko Okamoto), Yoko Sugi (Mitsuko Murata), Haruko Sugimura (Matsu Murata), Akiko Kazami (Seiko Tomiyasu), Ranko Hanai (Koyoshi Dohya), Keiju Kobayashi (Shinzo Murata), Chieko Nakakita (Keiko Yamakita), So Yamamura,

I am moved by the sadness to be found in the simple lives of people in the limitless space of the universe” wrote Fumiko Hayashi, quoted over the opening titles of this, one of many adaptations of her work made by Mikio Naruse.  One can safely presume that Naruse held the same ethos, and watching films such as Repast it’s easy to see why.  There’s nothing out of the ordinary about it; something very ordinary about it, if we’re being frank.  Yet that very ordinariness is what makes the film so compelling and, as is the case with all the best films – and certainly the best of this director – true.

            Michiyo is married to Hatsunosuke, who works in the financial district of Osaka, and they live together in the south of the city.  They have been married for five years, having relocated from Tokyo due to his work commitments.  Their marriage, without them really noticing it, is on the rocks, their love not so much dwindling away as already on the way out of the door.  Into this fractured atmosphere arrives Hatsunosuke’s teenage niece, who has run away from Tokyo.  He treats her like a princess, taking her wherever she wants and spoiling her rotten, much to the consternation of his suffering and put upon wife.  Finally, she decides she’s had enough and, in taking the niece back to Tokyo, leaves herself to go back to visit her own family, leaving Hatsunosuke to fend, somewhat pathetically, for himself. (more…)

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(United Kingdom 1998 11min)

Director Ruth Lingford; Writer Sarah Maitland; Music Andy Cowton; Voice Acting Pablo Duarte, Mildred Lee, Corinne Strickett

by Stephen Russell-Gebbett

Although animation, colourful and free, is most attractive to young eyes it plays host to all subjects and all audiences.

There are many animators who take advantage of the association of animation with children or childlike things with disingenuous mischief. They daub their macabre designs across the page as a challenge to our preconceptions. Ruth Lingford’s Pleasures of War is a refreshing balm to these types of stunts. It is a serious work that uses rather than abuses its medium.

It comes as a great surprise that this tale of lust and a lust for war, of death and the little death, in stark black and white with strong shapes of heady primary colour, was drawn on an everyday desktop computer. Can something as potent as this have been made with tools that seem cold and detached from the artist? Absolutely.

(more…)

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